It’s all fun and games until somebody compromises national security.
In the past week there’s been a new hacking story every day. Burger King and Jeep’s compromised twitter accounts were tongue-in-cheek, but Apple and Facebook’s hacked accounts were more serious. As these companies start to pick up the pieces investigators are looking for the culprit. With the spotlight on domestic “hacktivists,” the Chinese and Ukrainian gangs, the White House stepped in and announced their strategy to keep America’s trade secrets safe.
The administration unveiled a five-point plan yesterday to decrease cyber-attacks on companies’ trade secrets. The Department of State will work with other countries to improve prosecution of hackers and information thieves while the White House and Congress creates further legislation against domestic attacks. Several government departments, including the Department of Defense and FBI, will work with the private sector to help improve security and educate businesses on security. The plan specifies that security improvements are not limited to large corporations and that small and medium businesses should be just as prepared for potential threats.
It was the exact mentality that innovative trade secrets can be taken from both billion dollar corporations and start-ups that set the tone of the plan. The President was repeatedly quoted stating that America’s greatest assets are our innovations and our innovators. You don’t have to have record-setting stock prices for your company to be great or for outsiders to want to take your ideas.
“We are going to aggressively protect our intellectual property. Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people. It is essential to our prosperity and it will only become more so in this century.”
- President Barack Obama
As well as expressing concern for large and small businesses, the document targeted both internal and external threats to companies. Most of the case studies the report presented weren’t from foreign entities cracking the American code but rather employees who stole data and ran. The examples they provided of employees selling trade secrets cost companies anywhere from $7 million to $500 million per company.
Despite the fact that the focus was on internal employees selling secrets to foreign companies, the plan is meant to be tied with other cybersecurity legislation making its way around Washington. President Obama’s executive order from last week was a general overview of cybersecurity goals while these five points are the ways certain agencies are working to meet them. Over the next few weeks and moths expect to see more plans created to fight cyber-attacks and increase our online security.